The work, or the works to be precise, that turned the two great artists’ friendship into a rivalry that lasted until death… Because although Ruggero Leoncavallo offered the libretto of La bohème to his good friend, the young Puccini, he rejected it. Then he begged him in vain not to begin composition as he himself had already started… And it did not matter that his opera La bohème.
was highly successful a year after Puccini’s, posterity voted for the composer of Manon Lescaut. However, if we take a closer look at Leoncavallo’s opera, we will see signs of unfair neglect as he was also the composer of Pagliacci! The Italian titles of the twin-operas are identical (La bohème), so our predecessors have played them with slightly different titles, and, in order to avoid misunderstanding, we will follow suit when performing it close to the time of the other Bohemian opera.